Marketing in a Digital World


Until recently, digital media and social media were viewed as mere marketing tools for toy manufacturers and retailers. American Smartphone adoption increased in 2011 to over 50% of cell phon subscribers. Facebook app Draw Something (OMGPOP/Zynga) logs 36,000,000 active monthly users and the Draw Something iPhone App launched to more than 50,000,000 downloads in 50 days. Words With Friends, Draw Something, Angry Birds, Fruit Ninja, Bejeweled, Doodle Jump and other digital brands provide new insights into the way kids, adults, and families play. But are digital, mobile and social trends changing the way we play? 

In Chicago in November, we host our Social Media at Play Conference, SMAPCon, to learn the latest from the best minds. Brian Torney, SVP Creative & Interactive, at  Kunoichi and Steve Drucker, VP /Executive Producer at  Hasbro, were headliners at SMAPCon last fall and will now be expanding and sharing their thoughts at PlayCon next week along with Melanie Notkin, best-selling author, Founder of and CEO of the Webby Award nominee for Best Family Site. They are a dream team of information.

I am part of the TIA Committee putting on PlayCon, am introducing these digital mavens and asked them each to give us a sneak preview of what they plan to talk about at PlayCon. This is only one topic of a full agenda with important topics and top name speakers. I hope to see many of you at the Conference.  

Brian Torney: Web-Based Games and Applications Brian the thinker

Digital marketing crawled out of the Precambrian soup of the Internet. Casual online widgets (remember that old buzz word?), games and other applications have since migrated – along with their audiences – to social and mobile platforms. But the era of engaging with consumers at a plain old “.com” is far from extinct.

Social and mobile platforms have technical limitations that prevent them from offering the in-depth experiences users can find online. Complex game engines, complicated software stacks and pioneering new technologies can only run via custom web portals. And there is a demand for these rich online experiences! Consumers are thirsty for new and unique encounters. The Precambrian soup has evolved into fertile ground, where digital marketers can plant roots – and in time – grow whole forests of branded content.

From massively-multiplayer online games to web series that get more views than TV shows, the Internet has yielded some pretty epic digital marketing creatures – and there more yet to come! Brian will take you on an expedition into the noteworthy web-based games and applications of the last 5 years and what to look for in the future, so you can evolve along with this exciting digital marketing frontier.

Melanie Notkin -  Toy/Game Marketing in a Whole New Way Melanie Notkin_Ana Schechter Photographer_White Dress_Crop_8_2010

What if you could tell your brand and product stories directly to your most loyal consumers as well as to new segments of gift givers you never had the opportunity to reach before?  What if you could do something more powerful than push your latest toy innovation or competitive advantage within an already noisy marketplace? What if you could finally stop ‘selling’ and begin to connect in engaging and more playful ways? What if you stopped thinking of people as consumers and began to envision them as potential fans who want you to win with each and every product launch?

It’s an unprecedented and extraordinary time for marketers. Social media has broken the barrier between toy and game stakeholders and traditional and over-looked segments of gift-givers. Yet, we generally still see old media marketing techniques like advertising, giveaways and sampling applied to reach the same old audiences as before, and still somehow call it ‘social media.’

Melanie will help us shake the Etch-a-Sketch clean and think about toy and game marketing and consumer communities in a whole new way.  When we do, fans, new and old, will begin to reimagine play as well.

Steve Drucker: Mobile Games and Applications Steve Drucker pic

Perhaps nothing is more like science fiction than our current culture of mobile technology – to us. But the youngest generation of consumers doesn’t know a world without mobile technology. It’s a fact of life for them. Thus, harnessing this medium to market your brand is essential to its survival.

Digital media’s most amazing feature is that it allows marketers to have a direct and personal conversation with a relevant audience. With the advent and dissemination of web-enabled mobile devices, that conversation has been un-tethered from the home, office and school. It can happen anytime and anywhere, enabling incredible new storytelling possibilities.

Mobile technology lets you fit that brand story directly into the flow of your target demographics’ lives. It’s easier than ever to reach mom. Given the increasing trends of pass-back and hand-me-down of devices – not to mention the existence of non-phone devices like the iPad and the iPod Touch – more and more children are accessible via mobile, too.

While mobile marketing is essential – the opportunities unprecedented; the rewards great – it’s also a fiercely competitive space. Marketers are battling both competitors and the demands of the consumer’s own life. Steve of Hasbro’s app-enhanced product team will guide you through how to craft successful mobile digital marketing.


One thought

Leave a Reply